G C Lichtenberg: “It is as if our languages were confounded: when we want a thought, they bring us a word; when we ask for a word, they give us a dash; and when we expect a dash, there comes a piece of bawdy.”

Shel Silverstein : “Talked my head off Worked my tail off Cried my eyes out Walked my feet off Sang my heart out So you see, There’s really not much left of me.” ~

Martin Amis: “Gogol is funny, Tolstoy in his merciless clarity is funny, and Dostoyevsky, funnily enough, is very funny indeed; moreover, the final generation of Russian literature, before it was destroyed by Lenin and Stalin, remained emphatically comic — Bunin, Bely, Bulgakov, Zamyatin. The novel is comic because life is comic (until the inevitable tragedy of the fifth act);...”

Werner Herzog: “We are surrounded by worn-out, banal, useless and exhausted images, limping and dragging themselves behind the rest of our cultural evolution.”

John Gray: "Unlike Schopenhauer, who lamented the human lot, Leopardi believed that the best response to life is laughter. What fascinated Schopenhauer, along with many later writers, was Leopardi’s insistence that illusion is necessary to human happiness."

Justin E.H. Smith: “One should of course take seriously serious efforts to improve society. But when these efforts fail, in whole or in part, it is only humor that offers redemption. So far, human expectations have always been strained, and have always come, give or take a bit, to nothing. In this respect reality itself has the form of a joke, and humor the force of truth.”

विलास सारंग: "… . . 1000 नंतर ज्या प्रकारची संस्कृती रुढ झाली , त्यामध्ये साधारणत्व विश्वात्मकता हे गुण प्राय: लुप्त झाले...आपली संस्कृती अकाली विश्वात्मक साधारणतेला मुकली आहे."

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Is it a Selfie of Rembrandt?

S. Radhakrishnan, 'Indian Philosophy', Volume 1, 1927:

"The individual self is ever unsatisfied with itself and is struggling always to become something else. In its consciousness of limitation, there is a sense of the infinite. The finite self which is limited, which ever tries to rise beyond its sad plight, is not ultimately real. The true self has the character of imperishableness."


David Shariatmadari, The Guardian, January 1 2014:

"Previous generations seem to have been more aware of the sense of false security that images can provide – portrait paintings were often accompanied by a memento mori – often a well-placed skull signified that death was inescapable. The selfie lacks this handy feature. As we happily snap away, are we are engaged in a kind of mass denial? Things can be preserved, we seem to be saying, perfectly, digitally, and for ever."

I learnt in November 2013 that "selfie" has been named as word of the year by Oxford Dictionaries.

It is defined as "a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website"




Posing for a selfie photo at the memorial service of Nelson Mandela in December 2013 (courtesy: AFP / Getty)

The New Yorker's Robert Mankoff has some fun with this selection of the word  here.

There is not a cartoon by Peter Arno,  I don't love and so too was the case with this one. He rib-tickles me all the time.

Artist: Peter Arno, The New Yorker, 1 January 1959

My favourite 'Selfie' cartoon although is this:


Artist: Ed Fisher, The New Yorker,  11 February 1956

My caption today would be: "That's your selfie, I suppose".

I was moved to almost tears by what Jonathan Jones has to say about the following picture on his Guardian blog on November 21 2013:

"...Rembrandt, at the age of about 59, looks at us from the depth of his years, and with the authority of his craft. He has portrayed himself holding his brushes, maulstick and palette, in front of two circles drawn on a wall. Why the circles? Do they represent a sketch for a map of the world? Or is Rembrandt alluding, with this drawing on a brown surface, to stories that say the first picture was a drawing made with a stick in sand?
His eyes contain so much knowledge and melancholy that even looking at this painting on a computer screen, I get the eerie feeling that Rembrandt is looking back and weighing up my failures. You can deduce the power of the original.

He was a failure when he painted this, a proud man reduced to poverty by his enthusiastic spending – but here he throws it back on the burghers of Amsterdam. Art is not a business; it is a struggle with eternity. Rembrandt stands not proudly or arrogantly, but in the full consciousness of the heroic nature of his work.
First there is nothing, then there is a circle. The human hand, guided by the eye and the brain, makes a mark that only we can make – there are no other geometricians but us, no other animal that can draw or presumably conceive a circle.

From the circle to this portrait is another leap. Rembrandt has mapped himself with such craggy truthfulness that we simply stand and look back, wondering if we can ever be as real as he is..."

 But I still have a question....Is the picture Rembrandt's selfie?


 

"Detail from Portrait of the Artist" c.1665 from the collection at Kenwood House

Artist: Rembrandt Van Rijn

Photo courtesy: English Heritage